The television show aims to raise awareness about the dire situation facing displaced Syrians at refugee camps while providing them with necessary aid.
The host of Qatar Television’s newest show “Omran” was on set with the rest of his crew before being taken aback by a striking distant voice.
Swar Al Dahab was filming the plight of displaced Syrians in the north of the war-torn country when he was stopped by the sound of a teen singing inside what looked like a petrol tank.
Inside, 17-year-old Ahmad Al-Khattab was singing a prominent Arab chant called “Al Fekr Ya Ensan” [Thought O Man] while working to make coal.
“Do you hear this? Bring the microphone closer. Listen to this!” said Al Dahab in the moments he discovered the Syrian teenager’s talent.
An ensuing interview with the young man revealed how he had come to join dozens of Syrian children working in large, rusty burners to gather and clean the waste of crude oil at stations near the Al-Hamran area, north-eastern Aleppo.
— تلفزيون قطر (@QatarTelevision) April 15, 2021
This is later sold for at least $3 or even used for heating, he said, noting the dangerous task to heat the fuel is sometimes carried out by children themselves.
“I stopped school since third grade…if the situation remains the same I will not return to school,” said Al-Khattab.
However, his life took a turn for the better by the end of the episode.
The Qatar Television programme was able to ensure the Syrian teenager’s return to school, offering him a scholarship to pursue education.
The heart-warming story resonated with social media users who praised the young teen.
“A wonderful song with the voice of a young Syrian man working in coal burners east of Aleppo,” tweeted Syrian journalist Abo Al Hoda Al Homsi.
The Syrian conflict, triggered by the suppressing of protests in 2011, has forced minors in Aleppo to collect crude oil residue either by spending hours digging for rocks or carrying wood for miles to utilise what is left of the fuel.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], there are now 13.4 million people in need of humanitarian and protection assistance in Syria, 6.7 internally displaced persons, and a total of 6.6 million Syrian refugees worldwide.